Jared Felkins Column: Changes can be good, bad depending on number of calls

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About t...
Dec 1, 2012

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

Ziggy Stardust has become my inspiration this week, and for good reason. Better known as David Bowie, he sang about changes back in 1972.

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strain,” were the lyrics that kept rolling around in my head, but I should come to expect it by now.

For I have come to discover few people like change, unless, of course, they are the ones making the change.

Last month, we rolled out a series of changes to The Democrat’s print edition. We added an Our Views page to the Saturday edition, the one you are reading right now, if you are reading the print edition.

Other changes include a completely localized Our Views page, featuring a weekly column from staff writer Mary Hinds and a revamped Food & Health page on Wednesdays. That section now includes columns by professional chef and Hartsville restaurant owner Tully Wilson and Dads2Dads, an advice column by a pair of dads from Murfreesboro and Nashville, respectively.

Changes last month also came to the Saturday Living pages, where we added columns from couponing expert Ann Haney and United Way of Wilson County director John McMillin.

Regular features from writer Bonnie Bucy now have more of a frame, as well as an updated look and feel.

One of the coolest features came more by happenstance than anything. A young lady named Cypress Champion contacted me about gaining some experience as an aspiring journalist. One thing you have to know about me is that if you hang around me long enough, I’ll put anyone to work.

So the freshman cheerleader at Lebanon High School is now Girl on the Go, one of The Democrat’s newest columnists focusing on entertainment.

I’m hoping Champion will appeal to a demographic not otherwise known for reading a newspaper…at least in print. But I enjoy it each week, and I’m nearly old enough to be her dad.

For all the additions we’ve made to The Democrat in the past month, it was a subtraction that apparently garnered the most attention. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 15 years of newspapering, if you want to make a change, make it and see how many people notice.

Well folks noticed the absence of Dixie Diva Ronda Rich’s column. My reasoning was innocent enough. I simply want to move to more hyper-local content, and Rich “ain’t from around here.” She lives in Atlanta.

Well after a seven-year stint in The Democrat, apparently Rich has picked up a following, and surprisingly we received more calls and emails from men than women, asking to bring Dixie Diva back to our pages.

You spoke, and we listened. So, after a November hiatus, Rich returns today to The Democrat with my apologies.

Keep in mind, there are more changes planned for The Democrat in the coming weeks and months. See if you can spot them. It’s our effort to provide the absolute best to our readers and advertisers.

My only hope is that our readers don’t decide to remove me from the newspaper because I “ain’t from around here.” I’m proud to call Lebanon my new home, even if I don’t always make the right decision. I figure everyone’s allowed at least one mistake.

The important thing is, I hear ya, and most any change can be undone. Keep your comments, suggestions, dislikes and praises coming. We welcome them and take them to heart.

After all, this is your vessel; we’re just steering it.

Jared Felkins is The Democrat's director of content. He may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 13 or jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.

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